Kill The Messenger

What does it take for an actor to become a leading man in Hollywood? How does he get there? Typically it takes many co-starring roles and in that time make sure you stand out. Overall though, in order to make it to that final stage of stardom, you have a certain charisma when you are on screen. An actor needs to possess an “IT” factor. Jeremy Renner has had plenty of memorable co-starring roles, from “Marvel’s the Avengers” to “Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol.” He was great in both of those movies and many more. However, when he took over for Matt Damon in the “Bourne” franchise, he did not stand out as much. In his newest movie, “Kill the Messenger” opening today, October 10, he once again is missing that certain something an actor needs to carry a movie.

“Kill the Messenger” is about the true story of newspaper reporter Gary Webb. For those who are unfamiliar with Webb, he is the reporter who wrote the “Dark Alliance” series, documenting how the Nicaraguans Contras smuggled and sold drugs in the US, most notably crack cocaine and used those profits to fund their war, all with the full knowledge of the CIA. The after effects were our government denying the allegations and how other newspapers, instead of following up on the story and digging deeper, wrote pieces discrediting Webb for no other reason other than they were not the ones who broke the story.


Jeremy Renner delivers a brilliant performance in “Kill the Messenger.” It is easy to argue it just may be the best acting he has done up to this point in his career. Yet, while you watch this movie you can’t help to feel that the movie would have been better served if another actor has filled in the role of Gary Webb. It is almost unexplainable, but Renner has, up to now, not shown that special allure audiences expect from the star of a movie.

Director Michael Cuesta does draft together a fine picture. There are moment of suspense, tension and the first half has a “All the President’s Men” feel to it. Every performance is solid and its great that this story is finally being told to help give validation to the work Gary Webb did on a global scale. It’s unclear if Jeremy Renner will ever find that “It” factor to become a bonafide leading man. Let’s hope he does. “Kill the Messenger” is rated R for language and drug content.